“All of these pushes faced strong political headwinds from self-proclaimed conservative gatekeepers at the time. But the post-Trump landscape is opening up new possibilities for ideas once thought heterodox. The recent introduction of Senator Mitt Romney’s “Family Security Act”—which would provide a universal child allowance for all families, regardless of income—was an exciting first step towards an authentically pro-family politics. If it is adopted, it would be the most constructive policy step for families in decades. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the loud, populist voices deeming the GOP a newfound “party of the working class” will put their money where their mouth is.
Battles over the family have tended to be fought on cultural grounds, not economic ones. But the two are clearly linked. Cultural libertarianism supplements economic neoliberalism when it treats all unchosen obligations as suspect, and undermines traditional institutions in the name of efficiency.
A libertarian-infused approach gives the individual a place of primacy, promoting unencumbered liberty. Identity politics, ascendant on the left, prefers to evaluate the individual as part of his or her racial or ethnic group. Conservatives, in turn, tend to agree with the great sociologist Robert Nisbet that “family, not the individual, is the real molecule of society, the key link of the social chain of being.” This insight should guide a distinctively and authentically conservative approach to social, fiscal, and economic policy.
The unfettered individual, abstracted from the demands of being a parent, spouse, or child, is not just an ideal consumer; he or she is perfectly suited for a culture that prioritizes self-fulfillment and self-actualization. Family life, according to this worldview, is just one path among many. Why bother, progressives ask, looking at policymaking through the lens of a creaky institution that is just one path of many towards adult fulfillment? …”
Hopefully, it is a new day in the Republican Party.
There is a dawning realization that the “GOP establishment” is on life support due to the resorting of the electorate. The demographic base of the True Cons wing in the suburbs has collapsed as those people have steadily migrated over to the Democrats due to their shared lifestyle affinity for modernist and cosmopolitan values. The True Cons faction of the party is now firmly in the minority. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters are now either populists or social conservatives. Donald Trump’s acquittal like Liz Cheney’s censure will show who is really the boss in the Republican Party.
Nothing was conserved for generations except low taxes and open borders because of those people. It all goes back to the Lost Generation. The hatred and contempt that the American elite has for the masses is due to the colonization of liberalism by modernism.
I really need to resume working on my book on this subject.
Essentially, we have been living through a great cultural arc of American history that began in the 1910s with the fading of Victorianism. The American elite gradually became modernist in the 1920s and 1930s. In the aftermath of World War II, liberalism, antiracism, modernism and cosmopolitanism became a bipartisan consensus which was upheld and enforced by the professional managerial class that lives in the big metro areas and wealthy suburbs and has dominated both political parties. Modernist values trickled down from the postwar American elite through the mass media and the expansion of higher education. Modernism is now so widespread today in America that it has become invisible.
These cultures have a lifespan though and America’s “mainstream” culture has grown toxic. We are facing a sterile population, national disintegration, an oligarchy that lords it over the public, the collapse of the family, a debauched culture, the total collapse of trust in institutions, balkanization, polarization, etc. The symptoms are obvious to everyone. It is all different facets of the same underlying cultural disease. The whole “trans” phenomenon is but one example of modernism (the romanticization of consciousness and the interior self as “authentic”) in an extremely toxic and declining phase. Just as romanticism turned toxic in the World Wars, we’ve arrived at a similar point with modernism which is unraveling nations.
The explosion of nationalism and populism in the West is due to mounting cultural and economic distress in the working class and lower middle class and anger at unaccountable elites. It is important to recognize though that what is driving it is not anything like the cultural atmosphere that preceded the World Wars. Romanticism was an integrating force that was projected outward and united elites with the masses. Modernism is a disintegrating force that is turned inward and alienates elites from the masses. The disconnect between modernist elites and the economy which is rigged to suit them and their creed of political correctness and the masses whom they plunder and demonize generates populism.
This is a long winded way of saying that dropping the load of those people on the Right and the possibility of reforming a mere child tax credit represents a huge step forward. They’ve been the real obstacle to addressing systemic problems and reversing course all along.
A conservative version of the New Deal is needed to replace culturally what has been eroded by modernism and economically by neoliberalism. I have no idea how to proceed on the cultural front. How do you rebuild decades of cultural erosion in everything from religion to morals to identity? How do you cleanse the universities and media of political correctness and wokeness and reprogram professionals?